The project had three stages:
1. Make Bird Boxes – St. Bedes School with Washington Wildlife provided materials and ran the session.
2. A school session on site in Jarrow Park when the bird boxes were erected.
3. The school class returned in spring to see if any boxes are being used.
They found it to be a useful catalyst for the ideas and initiation stage of the project, but then developed the project further using their own ideas to meet local needs.
The group had initial difficulty procuring the bird boxes themselves which eventually were supplied, ready for assembly, by Durham Prison. Washington Wildfowl Trust agreed to become involved, offering advice and instruction on how to build the bird boxes and working with the children in the school.
All of these tasks were undertaken independently by members of the Friends of Jarrow Park (FOJP).
The first stage took place in St Bedes School Jarrow, The FOJP Chair Paul Moore organised a session in the school with Washington Wildfowl Trust where the bird boxes were assembled by the children. This element of the project usefully engaged children in a sense of ownership in the park which has experienced significant anti-social behaviour in the past. Positive feedback was received from children and parents, and the session was repeated in another local school.
The children were asked to select trees, in the designated wildlife area, on which they placed their bird boxes.
The children returned in the Spring, with the RSPB, to see if any of the boxes were being used for nesting.
The Friends of Jarrow Park received £750 from the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (RIEP), and the ongoing support of the Parks Manager at South Tyneside Council.
The Friends of Jarrow Park were approached in early 2010 to pilot the toolkit. Activity started in autumn and continued through to Spring 2011, when the children returned to their bird boxes.
The Brighter Futures Together toolkit was a good starting point for the Friends of Jarrow Park group to discuss and develop their own ideas. The group made a quick start, deciding upon their project very early. They did however find it difficult to get responses from outside bodies and to arrange people to provide estimates or dates for workshops, and found the support and encouragement of a worker from the council in the initial stages very helpful.
For further information about this project please contact Mike Linsley, Assistant Head of Neighbourhoods, South Tyneside Council